Speech Therapy

Echolalia in Autistic Children

Autistic children usually happen to excessively repeat a few words that they have just heard someone else utter, may be in person or on TV. This is a type of speech disorder called echolalia. Echolalia is a close cousin to echopraxia (involves excessive repetition of other person’s movements).

Echolalia can also be noticed in children suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, aphasia and Tourette syndrome. In Greek, echo means repeat and lalia means babble.

Echolalia in Autistic Children: Echolalia is a common symptom among most Autistic children. But, at the same time it can actually be a great way to start interacting with the child.

Verbal speakers in autism often have a habit of memorising words that they have recently heard and even words heard a long time back. They can use these words at the correct juncture but these are only based on memory and nothing spontaneous.

  • Echolalia in autistic children can either be immediate or delayed. Meaning, a child may begin uttering anything that he/she has just heard. Usually people with Asperger’s syndrome tend to do this a lot in order to train themselves at processing their language.
  • At the same time, a delayed echolalic reaction can be something that the child has memorised such as an ad commercial on TV, a movie script or parental reprimands.
  • Often echolalic behaviour may seem rude, but this is the way an autistic child learns to interact and convey his/her requirements.

Echolalia can be Helpful: Though a symptom, echolalia actually would benefit autistic children.

  • Autistic children with echolalia tend to develop their verbal communication by repetitive uttering. This means that, they can be trained to perform even better with the help of speech therapy.
  • Echolalics often repeat the script from a movie scene. This actually might be a tendency to help them calm down and relax while it can mean that they are fascinated towards certain aspects of the film.

Echolalia in autistic children is a blessing in disguise. Upon properly working with a speech therapist echolalia can be developed into proper language in autistic children.

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